Dropping like sheep? Rising temperatures are baaad for Aussie sheep production

Heat stress already leads to around 2.1 million fewer lambs being born each year, but that figure could rise to 3.3 million if temperatures increase another 3 degrees,  according to Aussie research. The study found that heat stress during mating already reduces the number of lambs born by 9%, costing 97 million a year, and this could drop further to a 14% reduction, costing 166 million a year if current temperatures rise by another 3 degrees (3.6 degrees on pre-industrial levels). Some states were also more impacted than others, with Queensland sheep feeling the heat more than those in other states. Heat also impacts how many lambs survive to weaning, and these loses could cost a further $278 million with 3 degrees of warming. The researchers say their work highlights the vulnerability of Australian sheep production to climate change.

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